Here are three important factors to consider when choosing a paddle:
FULL CARBON – The best of the best! Carbon paddles tend to be very light and are the favourite for performance oriented and touring ocean/lake paddlers. Carbon paddles tend to have a stiffer shaft reducing power loss as you paddle. While carbon paddles tend to be a bit more fragile on rocks then alloy or fiberglass the lightness, strength, and looks of carbon paddles make them extremely popular for intermediate and experienced paddlers. Carbon looks and feels great in the hands.
CARBON AND FIBERGLASS – For those who want the benefits of carbon but also want something a little more durable and affordable, a carbon/fiberglass or carbon/plastic blend is a great choice. A carbon shaft keeps the weight down while the fiberglass blade increases durability and decreases the price. These paddles are great choice for beginner to advanced paddlers who expect to use their paddles in all kinds of conditions including lakes and rocky rivers.
FIBERGLASS – Fiberglass paddles are lighter then alloy paddles (lighter = more comfortable) and a great step up for those who are more serious about paddling. Though a little less durable then alloy, the weight difference and hardiness for river riders makes it a great all around paddle material choice.
ALLOY (Aluminum) - a very durable paddle materials but is also the heaviest. Great for the paddling novice or the once in a while paddle boarder on a budget.
2. NUMBER OF PIECES
SUP paddlers tend to use fixed, 2 piece adjustable or 3 piece adjustable paddles. Here at Red River Paddle we only stock adjustable 3 piece paddles as they are the ones that fit nicely in our board bags - and allows friends and family to use them too. We HIGHLY recommend pairing 3 piece paddles with your inflatable board.
3. WEIGHT: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WEIGHT DIFFERENCES ON A PADDLE
Not convinced that weight makes a big difference with a paddle? Try this simple test and see what you think.
- Find your household broom and a metal yard shovel.
- Next, stand up on a chair and “paddle” with your broom. Use good technique, top hand directly over your bottom hand so that the shaft is totally vertical. Reach way out toward the front of your imaginary SUP board with the “blade,” of your broom -then finish the stroke at your feet.
- Paddle five times on each side and then switch to your shovel.
- Can you feel the difference? Now imagine fighting that extra weight over the course of a 2 hour-long paddle, or maybe a 5-hour paddle. A great workout but definitely less efficient!